Chipotle Style Rice

This is a “guest post” by two of my daughters that happen to love the rice from Chipotle.  They were pretty excited about figuring out the recipe and documenting it. My guest cooks are 16 years old and 12 years old.  It is a short, simple, and sweet post :).

3 cups cooked rice

2 TB vegetable oil

1/8 cup cilantro chopped

Juice of one lemon


Cook rice in the rice cooker according to directions.  We cooked up 3 cups and it was barely enough for our hungry family of six.

After the rice is done cooking heat a pan with vegetable oil and put in the rice. Sauté in pan, add lemon juice and cilantro and toss to coat.

They served their rice over black beans. Serve warm. Yum.

Hungarian Stuffed Cabbage

20160108_1739001 head of cabbage

1 cup uncooked rice

1 lb ground meat

1/2 cup golden raisins

2 cans tomato sauce

1 jar sauerkraut

1/2 onion, diced


salt and pepper



Core and then steam the head of cabbage until tender and starts to fall apart.  Carefully remove leaves from the cabbage head being careful to keep them whole.


Dice onions and saute with seasonings, garlic and raisins.



Mix raw ground meat and uncooked rice.


Grab a leaf of cabbage and place a handful of meat mixture in the center.


Wrap it up like a present. Folding the sides in and rolling up, kind of like an egg roll.


Pour cans of tomato sauce into sauce pan along with paprika, salt and pepper and bring to a simmer.  Pour 1/3 of the sauce into the bottom of the crockpot.


Dump jar of sauerkraut into crockpot along with all liquid. Layer the rolls of cabbage in the crockpot.


Pour the tomato sauce mixture over everything in the crockpot and cook on low 6-8 hours. Do not cook less than this or the rice will not cook through.



In my picture there is swiss cheese draped over the stuffed cabbage that I decided to add to it last second.  I do not recommend this as it was really overpowering.  It seemed like a good idea at the time that swiss cheese would taste really good with sauerkraut but it took away from all of the other flavors.




Simple Healthy Pureed Soups

I love pureed soups.  They are so simple to make, healthy and delicious. I even use them as a snack between lunch and dinner. They are pretty low calorie so it’s a perfect snack or appetizer. I don’t add cream, butter or anything fattening like that.

There are a few pureed soups that we keep in the mix over at my house.  Cauliflower, carrot and celery soup. All of these soups have onion, garlic, broth, water, the veggie of choice, bay leaves, salt and pepper.  You can add a potato to the cauliflower soup if you’d like it to be creamier but I think it’s perfect as is.

Cauliflower Soup

2 cans of chicken broth (or veggie)

water, fill one can from empty broth

1 head of cauliflower

1 sweet onion sliced

1 TB minced garlic

2 bay leaves

salt and pepper to taste

olive oil

Sauté onions on low with olive oil until translucent. You only need enough olive oil to sauté, don’t over do it.  Add cauliflower and cook for a few minutes while stirring.  Add broth, water and seasonings and simmer until cauliflower is tender, about 20-30 minutes.


Remove the bay leaves and puree with handheld immersion blender until smooth.  That is it!


You can substitute the cauliflower for 6-8 carrots, peel and chop carrots.

Or you can substitute 6-8 celery stalks, or a bulb of fennel, the possibilities are endless.


Just had to add this picture of the fennel I picked up from the farmer’s market! It’s so beautiful and some of it will make a great soup.

5K and a Huge Milestone

When I signed up to run the 5K with my 9 year old daughter I didn’t think it was a big deal. I knew it would be hard because I hadn’t trained and it’s been over 6 years since I have been able to run. But, when your daughter asks you to be her running buddy, you do it!

It was hard and I ached all over, especially mile 2 that was all uphill. But, I was so excited to actually be involved with one of my daughters and fully immersed in an activity that she enjoys.  After the past few years of missing out in my kids lives because of illness, it felt amazing to jump back in and be present.

The entire next day I felt like I was in a car accident. Some of it had to do with the stocking of shelves I had to do for 7 hours at work after the run, but it was pretty painful. It’s day 3 after the race and finally my muscles feel okay but my hips still hurt.

The added bonus to running with my 9 year old and supporting her was the emotion I felt after I finished. I wasn’t expecting the feeling of accomplishment. It was such a surprise to me. I thought back at how far I’ve come since my brain surgery and realized what a huge accomplishment it really was to have completed the 5K. It’s been years since I’ve run and I had completed it…without dying or needing medical attention. It’s real! My body really is healing.

This year has been a huge turnaround for me. In February it will be my 3rd Brain-aversary and JUST this year is when I have started to feel normal. And, more than that, I have actually felt healthy. I’m sure that some of it is because of the Celiac Disease diagnosis and now being gluten free for the past 7 months. I’m well on my way.

Stay tuned since I have had elevated C-reactive Protein results and my doctor now thinks I have another autoimmune disease that is yet to be diagnosed. Hopefully all will be well and I won’t be the girl that collects diseases.

Seared Salmon with Quinoa, Amaranth & Millet Cakes

I have this delicious Quinoa mix from Costco that has Amaranth and Millet in it. Gluten free and so tasty with the nuttiness and texture. This time I am cooking it in a rice cooker to see how that works.  Either way it is twice the water to the amount of quinoa mix you want to cook. On the stove you bring it to a boil, then turn down the heat to a simmer, cover and cook for about 15 minutes. Remove from burner and fluff with a fork.

For the Salmon I will season it with salt, pepper, garlic and tarragon (my favorite seasoning combo for chicken and salmon). I usually use garlic powder but tonight I am using minced garlic just to give it a little more uummph.


Season up the salmon and put it onto a hot pan with olive oil (I used lemon olive oil and it gave it a real nice taste) and sear until brown. Flip it over until the other side is brown and it firms up a bit and then remove it from the heat and set it on a plate.


Cover with tin foil (aluminum, whatever) to keep the heat in and keep it juicy while the patties get going.

I originally wanted to make these quinoa patties with zucchini but I forgot to pick it up at the store and I am not making another trip. So, this round I’ve decided to use match stick carrots that I had in the fridge. Next time zucchini. Hmm, also I will be using Irish dubliner cheese instead of parmesan for the same reason, however, it has a nice salty flavor so I bet it will be delish!


I have a family of six so most people probably only need 1/2 the recipe. But, for the 6 of us large appetite peeps you will need 2 cups of quinoa mix, 2 eggs, 1/2 cup of match stick carrots, salt & pepper, garlic, 1 cup of grated cheese of your choice. This would probably be pretty good with goat cheese too! Yum. I’m a major fan of ALL cheese.  Saute chopped onion and carrots until tender. Mix with cooked quinoa mix, eggs, cheese and seasonings.

Make patties and place in an oiled hot pan.  Cook until brown on each side and top with a bit of sour cream.

I’ve decided to slice up some asparagus, mushrooms, and onion for a side dish. I cut the sweet onion thinly and the asparagus at a slant; chop up mushrooms too.

I put the asparagus in a bowl and cover with water and cook in microwave for 3 minutes so it is firm but tender. Drain. Saute up the onion and mushrooms and after you get a good carmelization on them throw the asparagus in and saute for a couple more minutes.


Plate all three items and enjoy!


The next morning I had leftovers and made a savory dish with a fried egg on top. YUM.


At lunch I made some more quinoa patties but with goat cheese and sundried tomatoes and had it with a salad. Make sure to use 2 eggs, I tried to use 1 at lunch and it just wasn’t enough to hold the patty together.


For sure one my favorites now.


Concussion Time

This sucks!  A few days ago I fell in my mess of a garage and hit my head on a bracket that was sticking out of a cupboard.  It hurt like hell and apparently gave me a concussion. My head is pounding and it’s hard to concentrate. I’m dizzy and nauseous, but it makes me grateful for my health. It is all too familiar to have to lay down and rest and do nothing; to not be able to think clearly. I do not miss any of my sickly days and I can’t wait to get better and move on with my normal life.

Unfortunately, until I get better I cannot train with my youngest for her 5K race that she is so excited for and I may even miss out on my first girls trip. But, it is another lesson for me to slow down and be grateful for how far I’ve come over the last 7 years. Hopefully I will feel much better in the next few days. I can’t wait!

Creamy Risotto and Scallops

The measurements for the risotto are to feed my family of six, that are total pigs with a little left over. I’m sure for a normal family 1/2 the recipe would be enough.  Please don’t be afraid to be brave and forget about measuring things. Just whatever feels right.  The hardest part about posting recipes is thinking of the measurements I use.  I NEVER measure, I cook by taste, sight, and touch.

You’ll need:

2 1/2 cups arborio rice

3 cans of chicken broth

3 cans of water (filled from the empty chicken broth cans)

1 cup parmesan or romano cheese

2 TB butter

Handful of fresh herbs (I used lemon thyme & parsley)

1/4 cup lemon juice

Zest of one lemon

1 large onion

1 bulb of fennel

2 pounds of scallops

1 bunch of asparagus


Risotto can be made so many different ways and for some reason many people think it’s hard to make.  I find it pretty easy except for that it takes at least 45 minutes and you can’t go far from the pot.  Any herbs or veggies can be switched out, I really like my risotto with lots of mushrooms.  But, tonight I wanted the kids to eat it, so I left out the mushrooms. Caramelize finely sliced onion and fennel; set aside.


Melt butter in pot and saute the arborio until slightly golden.  When the rice is golden start to add some of the broth, maybe 1/3 of the can.


The key is to add a little bit of liquid at a time stirring regularly and as it cooks down add some more liquid.  This does take quite a bit of time, but it is so worth the wait.  Alternate between water and broth and you can put the lemon juice in the pot as one of the refills of liquid in the pot.


Chop up fresh herbs of your choice and put 1/2 in the pot to cook down with the rice and save the other 1/2 for topping off the dish. Grate cheese if needed and set aside.  Wash and slice asparagus. I just cut it in half and stick it in a shallow dish with water and microwave it for 4-5 minutes.


Then I remove it from the water and saute it in a pan with olive oil and salt & pepper for a couple of minutes, I like to cook it like this sinceit has a slight crunch and keeps the pretty bright green color. AND, it just tastes really good.


When the risotto is almost all the way cooked, which you can tell by tasting it and making sure there is no hard middle, add the cheese and lemon zest.


For the scallops it is important to dry them as much as you can by blotting with paper towels.  They suck up water so don’t rinse them and then they will let out a lot of water when you’re trying to get a golden crust on them.  See mine, I didn’t dry them as much as I should have, but I was hurrying off the Open House at one of the kid’s school.  Heat olive oil in pan until hot and cook the scallops with garlic, salt & pepper.


Plate risotto, scallops, asparagus and top with fresh herbs.  You can throw some more cheese on top if you’d like.  My picture has the fennel on the side since my kids don’t like it.  Delish.